Ministry fines Korean Air, Cho for ‘nut rage’

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Ministry fines Korean Air, Cho for ‘nut rage’

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Friday issued fines of 2.79 billion won ($2.6 million) to Korean Air and 1.5 million won to heiress Cho Hyun-ah for her infamous outburst on a plane in 2014.

The ministry concluded that Korean Air violated aviation regulations on Dec. 5, 2014, when the eldest daughter of Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho ordered a plane to return to its gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York because she was unhappy with the way cabin crew served her macadamia nuts.

The nuts had come in a bag rather than on a plate.

Cho also ordered the cabin crew’s leader, Park Chang-jin, to leave the plane.

The ministry cited violations of the plane captain’s authority to respond to emergency situations, submission of false documents and obstruction of the ministry’s investigation. For each violation, the ministry raised the penalty by 50 percent, saying it took into consideration the likelihood of Korean Air’s owner family to abuse its power again.

Under Korean aviation law, the ministry can increase or reduce fines by 50 percent based on the severity and frequency of violations.

A former senior executive at Korean Air who coerced flight attendants into delivering false testimony on the “nut rage” incident was also fined 1.5 million won.

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